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Plaid Cymru’s Sean Rees visits Scottish politics

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Sean Rees Campaign Manager Plaid Cymru Llanelli

Last weekend, I visited Scotland. The main reason for going was to spend some quality time away with my Dad after all nothing beats family. On Saturday (Dec 5) we had the privilege of taking a tour of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). The Parliament sits at the foot of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile in front of the beautiful Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags. The building was constructed from a mixture of steel, oak and granite. It’s innovative and modern design is fantastic and is set in a very central location. It is a spectacular building with a friendly atmosphere. Once we arrived, the team of staff working at the Parliament were very accommodating.

In the reception area, there was an exhibition space which displayed lots of information on the background of Scottish politics, how the parliament works, a list of the different committees and what they do and contact details for all of the elected representatives. I was really impressed with the size and layout of the debating chamber, in particular how close the viewing public seating area is to the elected representatives of the Scottish Parliament.

We went on to Edinburgh where we had the opportunity to catch up with a few friends from the SNP who we had met during last year’s Independence referendum. It was clear from our conversations how both our nations recognise that Westminster isn’t working for Wales. After all decisions that affect Wales should be made in Wales for the benefit of our communities just as decisions that affect Scotland and England should be made in those nations.

Unlike the current Labour Government here in Wales, the Scottish Government has taken every opportunity to protect and defend people from the Tories destructive austerity agenda in London. While in Dundee, It was refreshing to hear how an SNP government has transformed the lives of people in Scotland. A taxi driver told us how since the SNP came to power, he has personally witnessed the improved outcomes in health, education and their public services.

This truly inspired me as I want the same for Wales after next May’s Assembly election, a Plaid Cymru Government ready to offer the strong leadership and fresh thinking that Llanelli and Wales needs. Our communities deserve a fresh new start. A party committed to campaigning and delivering on the bread + butter issues like securing a strong future for our NHS, our education system and investing in our public services.

Sean Rees Campaign Manager Plaid Cymru Llanelli

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NSPCC: Wales conference puts spotlight on domestic abuse

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PROTECTING women and children from domestic abuse was the focus of a ground-breaking conference in Wales this week (Mar 28).

Organised by Cardiff University’s Exchange Network – with support from NSPCC Cymru / Wales and Welsh Women’s Aid – the event aimed to share information on the most effective approaches to tackle all forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and support for victims – be they adults or children.

Preventing violence from happening and protecting those who fall victim to domestic abuse formed the focus of the conference, at Cardiff’s Novotel Hotel.

Representatives from Welsh Government, Relate Cymru, Barnardos and Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre also attended.

Domestic abuse continues to be a significant reason for young people to contact Childline. In 2016/17 volunteers at the NSPCC-run helpline undertook 120 counselling sessions with children from Wales who had concerns about abuse by a partner in their own relationship.

And 241 children from Wales contacted Childline to discuss parental domestic abuse.

Some young people who witness this also experience physical abuse by their parents. This can sometimes happen when they try and intervene in the abuse taking place, with some children telling Childline they were hit by their mother or father when trying to stop a fight.

“Sometimes my dad gets in a bad mood and gets really aggressive. He says horrible things to me and my mum and it scares me. In the past he was threatening to hit my mum, when I tried to get him to calm down he slapped me instead. I feel like neither of them listen to me and they don’t understand how upset it’s all making me.” (Girl, 16-18, Wales)

Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, told The Llanelli Herald: “Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and it’s hugely important that we share information and discuss ways to both prevent violence and protect victims.

“We all have a part to play in tackling domestic abuse and it’s important to pick up the phone if you’re concerned so that our advisers can offer guidance and get help where it’s needed.

“Stepping in early helps to change behaviours and avoid abuse escalating, and putting the child at the heart of interventions is paramount in keeping children safe and limiting long-term damage.

“It is also vital that children and young people affected by domestic abuse have access to the right kind of support to overcome the trauma of witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse.”

Any child worried about domestic abuse can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

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Pop-up craft stalls return to St Elli

Tamsin Mathias

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Photo credit: www.stelli.co.uk/about-us/

LLANELLI’S St Elli Shopping Centre is once again playing host to a fantastic group of pop-up craft stalls today and tomorrow (Mar 1-2).

Following on from a highly successful outing just before Christmas, the ‘Pert A Blasus Pop-Up Emporium’ will see a variety of crafters take to the Atrium to sell their handmade crafts.

A group of friends who met whilst running stalls at craft markets around South Wales, Pert A Blasus brings together a host of skill sets and backgrounds – including a former kitchen fitter and scaffolder, a former clerical assistant, and a primary school teacher.

Primary school teacher Jill Davies has been crafting most of her life as a hobby; however, seven years ago decided to launch ‘Dzines by Jill’, which sees her hand-decorate plain pieces of ceramic and household items with her own unique designs.

Jill also organises her own ‘Made it Markets’ in Neath.

Also on board with Pert A Blasus is Steve Kennedy, who is the brainchild of ‘Cut n Scroll’, where he hand cuts items from wood and enlists the help of his wife Tanya for painting and gemming; Wendy Taylor, also a primary school teacher, who completed a precious metal course at Gower College and now makes her own items for her ‘Simplicity by Silver’ stall; and Jill James who runs her ‘Pretty Cute Fairies’ stall.

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Bread and Jam for Christmas

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A young woman with Spina bifida has been left alone in an empty home with nothing but bread and jam to eat and with no cooking facilities. Jackie lives a stone’s throw from Llanelli Town Hall and yet she claims she has been abandoned by the County Council, her AM, her MP and Social Services. She faces a wait until January 10 before service providers meet to discuss her case.

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